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Blurring the face of a moving person

Blurring the face of a moving person By Déclic Vidéo FX - Last updated on Sunday, February 17, 2013
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Category: Tips & Tricks Hollywood FX special effects  -  Previous tutorials  -  Associated File(s)  -  Associated Link(s)
Published on Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Created on Monday, June 28, 2010 2:28 PM

Creating a blur on the face of a moving person is a question which is often asked in various forums. The effect is similar to what we can see on the TV reports or during some interviews where the face of a person is "hidden". Take note that you can also use tips from this tutorial to apply effect/plugin in a part of your clip only. Very interesting and gives you hundreds of possibilities.

Step 1: Prepare your tools

The "Blur" video effect in RTFX Studio Plus category is necessary. If you only have a standard version of Studio, you can achieve this effect using the plugin Border2 WLFilter.

  • For Studio 10 and above, download WLFilter101.zip available on the WLFilter website (it contains 14 effects which include Border2)
  • Close Studio and extract the zip file. It will create a folder named WLFilter. Copy the whole WLFilter folder (included in the ZIP file) to the RTFx folder of your Studio (10, 11, 12 or 14).

After this operation, your tree should look like this:

  • C:\Program Files\Pinnacle\Studio X\Plugins\RTFx\WLFilter
  • Studio will now display the WLFilter category (in your plugin list).
Step 2 - First steps...

For this tutorial, I used the Pinnacle's video: Photoshoot.mpg (Scene No. 3). If you do not possess the demo video distributed with older Studio version, you can download it (courtesy of the publisher) in the "Associated Links" section of this page below (right click / Save Target As).

Scene 3 - photoshoot

It contains two characters in motion (descending stairs), and we will apply the blur on the head of the first character. It is necessary to have two identical video sequences to insert the effect, an unmodified one while the second sequence will be changed with the blur plugin located in the RTFX Studio Plus category. This second sequence will be used for the character's head only, and will be displayed through the "disc" that represents the effect HFX Video and Film - Spotlight (Spotlight). Of course, for the face of the first person view through the HFX disc effect is synchronised with the rest of the image, we will use the SAME sequence (scene No. 3).

Step 3 - Connecting
  • Open Pinnacle Studio.
  • Insert the video scene #3 TWICE on the timeline. The first one will be the "Video A" (where we will apply the HFX effect), while the second one will be the "video B"

album and timeline

Step 4 - Add blur to the second sequence

In order to have the character's head blurred through the "circle/disk" that represents the Projector effect (Spotlight), apply a blur effect to the second sequence in its entirety.

  • For this, double-click the second sequence, click the icon "Add an effect to a video clip" then select the RTFX Studio Plus category and the effect "Blur", and then click OK.

add video effect window studio blur

  • Set the parameters you want to apply to the character's head. I chose the following values:

Blur effect window - settings

Note that you can control the outcome of the settings directly in the preview window. Once finished, close the settings window (by clicking the cross at the top of the window setting).

For users of standard versions of Studio, the same procedure as above applies, except that you must select the category and the effect WLFilter Border2 (Blur) (2.0).

window add video effect of blur WLFilter

  • Set parameters like this:

window setting blur WLFilter

Please note that you can change the setting to blur at your convenience.

With RTFX Studio Plus, you should get something similar to this (with the WLFilter effect, that small painter's palette icon will be replaced by a green electrical plug):

time-line after applying the plugin blur

Step 5 - Apply the spotlight

Now, apply the HFX transition (Spotlight or Projecteur) from the category "HFX Video & Film" between the two sequences.

In order that the effect lasts the whole length of the sequences, "pull effect" on the right (or left) to completely cover the scenes.

timeline stretching before the transition

As both scenes are identical and to avoid sound problems, we will now remove the sound of the second sequence.

  • To do so, zoom in the time line either by stretching it using the mouse or by right clicking and selecting 10 seconds for example in the dropdown menu. This operation aims to extend the runway video to see a thin strip of the second sequence, the extreme right of your time line.

timeline after stretching of the transition

Select this thin strip and lock the main video track (click the little lock on the far right of the screen). Button lock the video track
  • Click on the narrow strip of the sound track, then click the trash can icon to delete the audio of the second sequence.
  • Unlock the video track (click on the padlock again)

To change the HFX effect so that the "circle/disk" is adapted to the size of the first face of the person and that it follows it throughout his pathway, do the following:

  • Open Easy FX Editor by double clicking on the transition to display the "Modify Clip Properties" tool, and click the "Edit" button.


Step 6 - Easy FX Editor


Use what you learned from the tutorial "Tuto-3 Prepare the saving of HFX effects" (from step 2) to back up everything to another name (eg "Blur Face").

save the new HFX

Check Easy FX editotor configuration using the tutorial "Tuto-2 General tutorial / Easy FX Editor" from Step 2.
  • in preview mode, select "Use the real video sources (slowest)"


window setup video sources

Step 7 - Understanding the Methodology

To understand how we will achieve the effect:

  • Click the "Disk" object in the FX tree.
  • Click the play button in the control panel and watch the video.

window object disk

You notice that the black circle moves on the video over time.

  • If you now click on the "Simple Disk" object, you see the sequence without the black circle, only with the object and its movement.

window object simple disk

Once the effect is applied, the second video (Video B where we apply the Blur plugin) will appear inside this circle (which will not be materialized or black, but simply let the second sequence appear blurry)!


  • just properly size the black disk (to be sure that the face is hidden by the circle). Eventually, the disk size can vary over time if necessary (person approaching or moving away from the camera)
  • synchronize the movement of the circle with the face of the first person, identifying a number of key points (so that the movement is fluid and follows the face).
Step 8: Let's change the disk size


In order to materialize the circle through which the face appears, click the "Disk" object; then move the cursor along the time axis so that the disk is somewhere in the screen (not out).

window object position disk

Now, we'll have to remove the envelope of the disk (so that it no longer follows the original path by default):

Get into the "envelope" mode if you have not already done so, by clicking on the little folder in the top right corner.

window display /hide the album

  • Click the "Simple Disk" object in the HFX tree;
  • In the Properties panel, select the X property "Position"

fen ^ be the property

  • Remove the "Position" envelope by clicking on the trash can icon. Before removing the envelope you have this:

remove the envelope window

  • After removing the envelope, you have this:

window after removal of the envelope

Resize the object "Simple Disk" to the portion that covers the face that you want (through this black disk, we will see the blur face) using the tool 'Resize'  next to the preview pane:


  • If using the mouse does not allow a precise dimensioning, directly modify the values in the "resize" text box; do not forget to enter the same values X, Y & Z (otherwise the circle is not round ... --> valid for oval faces)


    window title

    To properly adjust the round, feel free to select from time to time the "Disk" object to better visualize the circle, and move the circle to the face of the person using the "Move" button (this tool works only on the "Simple Disk" object)

    window object motion

    It's up to you to find the right parameters to use by adjusting the various numbers ...

    Step 9 - Let's move the circle with the movement of the person ...

    Now we have to create an envelope for the "Position" property "Simple Disk", so that the object follows the video over time ...
    For this, it is necessary to have followed the tutorial "Creating a PIP (Picture In Picture) with fade in/out".
    No real advice for this step, simply create a few key points (neither too little nor too much!): the movement must be fluid. Please preview the video several times to get an idea of the final effect. The first key point is defined at the beginning of the video.

  • To do this, place the cursor at the start time (00:00:00:00) and then move the object "Simple Disk" on the face using the appropriate tool (as above). Then create the corresponding keyframe.

Window "Create key points"

  • Then move the cursor a little time, and bring the subject "Simple Disk" on the face (always using the same tool "Move"). Moving the object automatically creates a key point. Repeat several times until a sufficient number of key points. It depends on the speed of movement of the character and his movement in space. For "twisted" movement, a lot of key points will be needed, while for a simple linear displacement, 2 or 3 key points are sufficient. Feel free to preview the effect with Easy FX Editor preview by clicking the play button to get a seamless movement of the "Single Disk" object, a movement that has to follow the movement of the face.

All the techniques discussed in the tutorials "Tuto-2 General tutorial / Easy FX Editor" and "Creating a PIP (Picture In Picture) with fade in/out" should be applied here (Move, copy, delete key points, etc..).

  • On my side and on the above example, I get the following envelope with 15 key points (it's a personal choice, more or fewer key points can give a similar result)

    window envelope creates new


  • Now exit Easy FX Editor (File> Close - or click the "OK" button at the bottom right.
  • You are back in Pinnacle Studio. While seeing the results you've noticed that there is 1 or 2 images "fuzzy" to the end of the effect, do a rendering. Go back to the project you're working on, insert the sequence you just rendered, and cut one or two images (at the end)

If you are lost, or if you do not want to bother to follow this tutorial, you can download the file HFZ_PIP-flou.zip available in the « Associated Files » section below.  This file contains my envelope for this specific example: FlouVisage.env and the HFX effect "Blur Face": floumove.hfz. To use this hfz file, refer to the tutorial "Tuto-1 Files with .HFZ extension". And here is the video result:


And voila, done!

!! BONUS !!

If the person is closer to the camera, it's possible to increase the size of the circle (or decrease if the person moves away), also using an envelope on the "Resizing" property from the object "Simple Disk".

If you look at my envelope, you will find that the size of the circle has been increased at the end of the effect.

{Tutorial taken from our old site and brought into conformity by the Papy - thank you to him}

Step 10: The Grandpa method (Le Papy) that avoids the hard work ...

Now that you have installed WLFilter, enjoy ...

On the Studio video trac, drag a single scene # 3 from Photoshoot.mpg and apply the video effect WLFilter Spot (2.1).

Le Papy method

You stretch the timeline and you create a keyframe every few seconds. Here are the settings I used:

Key frame Time Radius Horizontal Vertical
1 00:00:00:00 13 22 27
2 00:00:01:00 13 25 27
3 00:00:02:00 13 33 40
4 00:00:03:00 13 39 44
5 00:00:04:00 15 55 62
6 00:00:05:00 16 88 70
7 00:00:05:07 17 96 65
8 00:00:06:11


100 65

When you have finished with your settings, just tick the "Invert" box for each keyframe. I do not ask you to tick it first, because it is easier to tune the effect with the Reverse box unchecked.

Phew ... was quite long enough for me ...

{Thanks to Loosecannon for the fine tuning, and saby for the screen capture}

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Gert Oskar Reitner By # Gert Oskar Reitner @ Thursday, July 1, 2010 10:03 AM
Great Tutorial , however the yideo results is blank !

Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Thursday, July 1, 2010 3:49 PM
Correct Gert !! Thanks a lot, you see everything...
Is that better now ???


Chantal By # Chantal @ Wednesday, February 16, 2011 2:53 AM
I am stuck on step 5:
Step 5 - Apply the spotlight
Now, apply the HFX transition (Spotlight or Projecteur) from the category "HFX Video & Film" between the two sequences.
My Pinnacle Studio Ultimate HD Version 14 does not have "HFX transition (Spotlight or Projecteur)" Please can you help?

Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Sunday, February 20, 2011 3:00 PM
Hello Chantal,

I will translate Le Papy answer:
"If you do not have PLS-Projecteur in Studio 14, it means that you do not own HFX Volume 1 (this transition is delivered with this pack). It might happen that you did not use the Transfer wizard available with Studio 14. In such case, check the following tutorial :
- Plugins installation for Studio 14
- Install our free HFX transitions in Pinnacle Studio 9-15
- My HFX transitions create problems for me...


Chantal By # Chantal @ Monday, February 21, 2011 3:22 AM
Thanks DV FX
For the post but this did not help me as I only have V14 and no previous versions of Pinnacle installed.

Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Monday, February 21, 2011 12:19 PM
OK Chantal... So, let's download BONUS DVD Studio 11.x and install it. It's like if you have previous version now. And it should bring you what is missing.


Chantal By # Chantal @ Thursday, February 24, 2011 8:05 AM
Thanks DV FX
I Downloaded the Bonus DVD Studio 11 but it will not install because it does not pick up version 11. I think I am just going to just go with "Step 10: The Grandpa method"

Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Sunday, March 6, 2011 6:10 AM
Hello Chantal,
It should install, even without Studio 11 on your computer.

DeRedder By # DeRedder @ Sunday, December 20, 2015 6:28 PM

I have version 18. I have a whole other Effects screen layout, from step 4 all is different and i am missing what i have to choose. Yep i have installed the effects and they are in the right folders.

So i am stuck.

Le Papy By # Le Papy @ Saturday, December 26, 2015 8:22 PM
This tutorial was written for Studio versions up to 15. A new tutorial for versions greater than 15 will soon be released ...

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